The Belgian Shepherd Dog

If you want a fast and accurate agility dog that can equal or exceed the border collie's success in competition then it must be the Belgian shepherd.  They are fast and accurate and when they weave they're like lightning.  Blink and you miss it.

Belgian  shepherds come in four varieties and they are distinguished by their coat type as shown below.

Image of a Belian Shepherd Tervueren Image of a Belgian shepherd Groenendael  

Tervueren left and Groenendael
(Creative Commons License)

 

 

 

Image fo a Belgian Shepherd Malinois

 

Belgian Shepherd Laekenois

Malinois and Laekenois

In the UK they used to be shown together but now they are treated as separate breeds.  The ideal height for dogs is 61-66 cms and for bitches: 56-61 cms .  The weight should be in proportion to their size. (It's usually about 27.5 to 28.5kg.)

They are intelligent dogs and not aggressive, although they may be a little wary of strangers.  This isn't nervousness or fear but simply part and parcel of their breeding.  It means that they may be a little reserved and aloof when they don't know someone as opposed to being "In your face" and "licky soppy."  A friend and neighbour who has judged this breed said,
  "When you approach a Belgian to judge you have to go straight in to them.  It's no good dithering or you'll make them unsettled.  They need confident and positive handling."

Most respondents to a survey found them easy or fairly easy to train, but if you like the look of the Belgian shepherd and you've never had one before please speak to the breeder about their requirements before buying a puppy.  They need a good deal of socialisation when they are young and you may not be able to go out to work and leave them on their own for hours.  Belgian shepherd handlers have given some comments below. 

Gill Vann:

My second dog was a stray so don't know her parentage, but she has a gsd's head and a Belgian body and she is great at agility

Janet

They are not all shown together now and have been separate for some years. I have owned and bred groenendael for 25 years, compete in agility on a mobility scooter and use a groenendael as an assistance dog. Best breed in the world!!!! Pat comments: Thank you for putting me right on the showing aspect.

Lora-May:

I own a turveren, and he's the most caring, beautiful dog I've come across. When he was a puppy, he was the usual rebel pup (ripping up things, making mess etc) But he was easy to train, and soon understood right from wrong. He's friendly with other dogs, and strangers. But he needs quite a lot of attention. Lots of walking, he's quite a fussy dog too. I would recommend this breed of dog to people who are looking for a friend, and who don't mind a lot of exercise. There brilliant dogs!

Karen:

Oh My Goodness!! I have just seen Malinois! I have, or so I thought, a collie x alsatian as that was the breed type on her card from the Dogs Home. I got her aged 10 weeks, and everyone has always mistook her for a Belgian. She is identical in looks and build to Malinos although she only weighs 15kg and is 16 month old! I am just amazed at the likeness! Wish I could put her picture on here to show you.

Gill Vann BELGIAN SHEPHERD (GROEN) X GSD

My last dog was a large GSD he was steady but slow, my cross has the gsd ability with the speed and lightness of a bsd, and although she is too young to compete(17 months) she is showing a great potential at training.

Belgian Tervueren handler:

Belgians have a huge sense of humour and can have a "Belgian moment" which lovers of the breed will understand. They are very sensitive physically but respond beautifully to intelligent, reward based training and are very agile, bright and fast so I'd say they are excellent agility dogs but only for the right owner who is prepared to understand them."

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